What happens when you’re consistently lied to? Maybe it’s just one big devastating lie that shreds you to pieces. Sometimes the breach of trust is so big that the bridge blows up in a heated explosion. Other times it wears away, board by rotten board. How do you repair broken trust? Are you the one responsible to rebuild the bridge?
Trust and forgiveness can walk hand-in-hand, but they are two very separate issues. When you add reconciliation to the mix, it can really get cloudy. Today we focus on rebuilding that bridge of trust and who is responsible for what.
Rebuilding trust – The responsibility for rebuilding trust is on the person who broke it. However, that can get complicated if the person is unwilling to admit they’ve done anything wrong. Lies have a way of clustering like clothes hangers and become so entangled you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. Lies cover up lies. You cannot do anything to rebuild trust with someone who cannot be honest.
Accept his efforts – When the person who lied to you chooses to admit their wrongs and begin rebuilding trust, be open to their efforts. Rise above the instinct to criticize, punish, or withhold from them. A simple “Thank you, I see that you’re trying” can go a long way in showing that you’re receptive to his rebuilding efforts. You can read here about other ways some wives hurt their husbands, even when they’re are doing the right things.
Encourage him when he’s honest – Breaking habitual lying is tough. When he admits he’s relapsed or slipped back into an addiction, or admits he’s lied again, accept this confession with grace. Resist the urge to shame or verbally punish. When you encourage truth-telling, it motivates him to do so again and again. You become a safe person he can go to when he’s failed.
Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to call him out when he is lying to you – It’s easy to want to trust without hesitation, but you must not silence what your gut is telling you if you sense something’s not right or that he’s not been honest. It’s okay to confront respectfully. Do not automatically assume that he’s changed if he admits he’s lied once or twice or even a few times. Learning to be honest takes time. If there’s a history of lying in your relationship, you’ve likely muted your gut. Trust yourself and speak up when you need to.
Living in truth is a freedom like no other. When you can both live in truth, it’s a freedom shared.